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The Crossroads of the Genealogy World

(Courtesy of NARA Staff)

Pennsylvania Avenue is synonymous with iconic destinations and extraordinary events. From the White House to the United States Capitol, the notable institutions that line the street have hosted many of America’s most momentous occasions. Last month, the National Archives Building at 700 Pennsylvania Avenue continued this tradition by holding its Eighth Annual Genealogy Fair.

The fair, which was free to the public, took place April 18-19 on Pennsylvania Plaza in front of the Archives. Throughout the two-day event, the National Archives showcased Federal records that can be used as resources for family history research. In addition, staff members and exhibitors provided information for both experienced genealogists and novices.

This year’s fair featured the addition of three large classroom tents for informational lectures. These sessions included workshops on records relating to immigration, land, naturalization, military, online resources, and more.

When visitors were not viewing exhibits and attending sessions, they were primarily discussing the recent release of the 1940 census in digital form. Many visitors revealed that they are now using social media and web tools to locate their relatives.

If you are interested in helping to index the 1940 census, join the online indexing project and start creating a name index for the 1940 census today. To start, find census maps and descriptions to locate an enumeration district. Then browse census images to locate a person in the 1940 census. Once you locate a census image, you can easily save, share, or download the image.

In all, a record number of 5,401 people attended the Eighth Annual Genealogy Fair, compared to about 5,000 last year. The fair was funded by the Foundation for the National Archives with support from lead sponsor Ancestry.com

If you missed the Eighth Annual Genealogy Fair, the National Archives is hosting several regional genealogy programs in May. Check out “Blogging for Genealogists” in Fort Worth on May 4, “Passenger Arrival and Naturalization Records” in San Francisco on May 11, or “Navigating the US Census, 1790 – 1940″ in Boston on May 17.

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